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Materials Selection Policy

This Library Material Selection Policy for the Calvert County Public Library has been based upon the work of a committee of the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association appointed by the Boards of Library Trustees, which included representation of both board and staff.

The content of this policy has been influenced by "Basic Components of a Public Library Policy" produced by the Maryland Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee.

This policy has been approved by the Board of Library Trustees of Calvert County.

Any library material selected in accordance with this policy shall be held to be selected by the Board of Library Trustees.

Calvert County 5/18/82, Reaffirmed 2/15/95
Charles County 5/26/82
St. Mary's County 5/18/82

I. Library Objective

The overall objective of the public library is to provide library resources and services necessary to meet the educational, recreational, and informational needs of the public in order to promote the communication of ideas, an enlightened citizenship and enriched personal lives.

II. Responsibility for Selection

Final authority for the determination of the policies in this document is vested in the library's Board of Trustees. The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials is delegated by the Board to the Library Director, and under his/her direction, to the staff who are qualified for this activity by reason of education, training, and experience.
Advice of specialists in the community is requested in fields in which staff members do not have sufficient expertise. Suggestions from readers are welcome and are given serious consideration within the general criteria for selection. The final decision for purchase rests with the library.
The responsibility for the use of library materials by children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians.

III. Criteria for Selection

The evaluation of materials is characterized by flexibility and a responsiveness to the changing needs of the citizens in Calvert County. These changing needs require that materials be evaluated initially and on a continuing basis. As a result, materials, which may not have been recommended for purchase originally, may, in fact, later be purchased. Materials are evaluated as a whole and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages. A work will not be excluded from the library's collection because it presents an aspect of life honestly or because of frankness of expression. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children and adolescents. Materials selected primarily for children and adolescents will be marked accordingly.
General Criteria for Selection:

  1. Availability and suitability of the material's format.
  2. Suitability of the subject, style, and reading level for the intended audience.
  3. Attention given by critics, reviewers, professional material selection aids and the public.
  4. Reputation of the author, publisher, or producer.
  5. Quality of design and illustration.
  6. Relevance to the present and potential needs of the community.
  7. Demand for the material.
  8. Relationship to existing materials in the collection on the same subject.
  9. Availability and accessibility of the same material in the State Library Network.

Purchase of those materials that meet one or more of the above criteria may be limited due to budget constraints.

IV. Collection Maintenance


The discarding of materials is selection in reverse. Systematic withdrawal of materials which are no longer useful in maintaining an active, accurate collection is necessary. Library materials are discarded for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Irreparable damage
  2. Obsolescence.
  3. Insufficient use.
  4. Lack of space available for housing materials.


Lost, damaged and worn-out materials are considered for replacement based on the following three factors:

  1. Existence of adequate coverage of the subject in the library collection.
  2. Public demand for the specific title.
  3. Availability of the specific title.


Gifts of books and other materials are accepted with the understanding that they may be used in the collection or disposed of according to the needs of the library. New titles acquired in this manner are subject to the basic standards of selection. Replacements and duplicate copies are added to the collection if needed. The costs of processing and the availability of shelving space are also factors in determining the acceptance of gifts. The library does not provide evaluations of gifts for tax deduction or other purposes.

V. Complaints about Library Materials

Materials representing various points of view are acquired. Where there are differing opinions or theories, the library will provide materials on all view points if they conform to the general criteria for selection. No material will be excluded because of the race, nationality, sexual orientation, religious or political views of the writer. The library recognizes that the choice of library materials by a user is an individual matter. While one person may reject materials for himself/herself, he/she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to materials by others. Responsibility for the reading of children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians.
Once an item has been accepted as qualifying under the selection policies and criteria, it will not be removed at the request of those who disagree with it, except under the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
There is a formal procedure for the reconsideration of materials (See Material Reconsideration Procedure).

VI. Intellectual Freedom Endorsements

The Board of Library Trustees of Calvert County adopts the following statements from professional organizations regarding Intellectual Freedom:

  1. Freedom to Read
  2. Freedom to View
  3. The Library Bill of Rights
  4. Resolution 1981 - 32 of Maryland State Board of Education

    The above statements are appended to this policy.

Portions of the Materials Selection Policy have been taken from the following libraries:

  1. Fairfax County Public Library / Fairfax County, Virginia
  2. McMillan Memorial Library / Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
  3. Tucson Public Library / Tucson, Arizona
  4. Tulsa City-County Library System / Tulsa, Oklahoma
  5. Virginia Beach Public Library / Virginia Beach, Virginia

Request Reconsideration

If you would like Calvert Library to reconsider one of the items in our collection, please fill out a Materials Reconsideration Form [pdf] online or at your local branch.